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Lessons on curtailing corruption.

Lessons on curtailing corruption.

THE National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 (NACP) which is aimed at fully addressing governance, integrity and anti-corruption measures will be launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on January 31, 2019. NACP has 115 initiatives, all aimed at curbing, combating and curtailing corruption in Malaysia.

 

Generally, national anti-corruption plans are formulated in a broad manner in order to provide a long-term vision on how to address and fight corruption. Most anti-corruption plans span five to 20 years. Identifying common pitfalls at different stages of developing and implementing anti-corruption strategies and providing recommendations to help countries develop effective plans is always a challenge.

 

One of Lithuania’s strategic objectives is to reduce the scope of corruption, increase transparency and openness in the public and private sectors and ensure that by 2025, Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) of Lithuania would be at least 70/100.

 

In 2017, the CPI of Lithuania was 59/100 and it ranked 38 out of 180 countries while Malaysia’s CPI was 47/100 and it ranked at 62. Is TI’s CPI one of the measures in our NACP?

 

Our CPI must be at 83/100 to be ranked among the top 10. (In 2017, the CPI of Singapore was 84/100 and ranked six). That should be our ultimate goal – to be in TI’s CPI. One country which has improved significantly is Georgia. The 2003 Rose Revolution installed former justice minister Mikheil Saakashvili as president and within two years of his presidency, more than 60% of the country’s 25,000 police were dismissed. Georgia has experienced a dramatic improvement, moving from 133rd least corrupt in 2003 to 67th in 2008 and 49th in 2013. For CPI 2017, Georgia scored 56 points and was at 46th place.

 

Malaysia’s positions were 37th (2003); 47th (2008); 53rd (2013) and 62nd (2017). A fundamental feature of Georgia’s fight against corruption was the strong determination of the elite at the highest level to eradicate it.

 

Georgia’s success was largely due to strong law enforcement and administrative simplifications that eliminated petty corruption in the public administration. Georgia’s Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan for 2017-2018 has 16 priorities, more than 60 events and over 200 activities.

 

Corruption cannot be effectively tackled without an active citizenry willing to blow the whistle. Whistleblowers must be protected and not prosecuted to fight corruption. Section 6 of the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 states that one can only report to any of the law enforcement agencies namely the police, Customs Department, Road Transport Department, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Immigration Department. The current Act makes whistle-blowers vulnerable even if they reveal information to someone else, for example a MP or even the National Human Rights Commission.

 

Unless there is an amendment only then can one say, “nobody should be afraid to come out and expose any wrongdoing or malpractice or financial irregularity.”

 

Corruption Perceptions Index – Where’s Malaysia standing? Graft hurts economics, people and governments.
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